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Published: August 14th 2012
First impression of Dawson City...
Between Whitehorse and Dawson City on a stretch of 600 km, there were only a couple of little towns with a few houses. The road was carved out of the forest and seemed endless. The trees looked sometimes like pipe cleaners and there were big piles of trees and bushes along the road where they ad been stacked after the widening of the road corridor. We stopped at the fife finger rapids, some beautiful lakes and kept on driving through the forest. We stopped every opportunity and on a potty break for Koya, I spotted a huge porcupine and quickly grabbed my camera and went hunting. This was a rodents with a coat of sharp quills, that defend them from predators. Most mature porcupines are about 25–46 in long, including tail. This one was a good size one with a large fan of quills that made a weird noise as it tried to get away from us in a slow waddling manner. Although he has not fast it was not that possible to get him from the front. He always turned his prickly butt toward me and I was not going to get to close
to his respectable protective behind.
I finally let him disappear into the bush and we went on our way. Just about at Henderson’s Corner I stopped again to take some nice pictures of a beaver family that was busy cruising through their dammed up pond. The sunset reflected beautifully in the still water with only the ripples from the beavers moving. With loud slaps of their tales on the water they disappeared into the lake just to reappear somewhere else. I was watching a female with a young one cruising the pond and collecting little branches that still had leaves on. It is hard to tell how late it was since sunset did not really give you any indication of evening. I got some shots of the beavers and went ahead toward Dawson City. Finally arriving in the outskirts of town the impression of the tailings from the time of the big dredges left us wondering and a little disturbed about the impact of the gold searchers of the past. Huge piles of river rocks snaked seemingly endless through the landscape. At that time I had not seen a dredge and could not imaging how those piles of gravel and
rocks totally free of earth could cover a whole valley. I drove with wide eyes through a barren landscape. Finally we crossed over the Klondike River and into the little town where the time seemed to have had forgotten. You could almost feel like being back in the 1800 in the time of the Klondike Gold Rush. It was a colorful little town and we stopped at the visitors information to get our bearings. We watched a big draft horse taking off with a few tourists in the back of an plan wagon and entered the visitors bureau. Besides some interesting historical information and some insider tips we also found out that the nicest camping possibility was across the Yukon river that could only be crossed with the ferry. But everything was easily within walking distance. Eric told us to meet him there and if we found him we could explore the town by foot and have a drink or two we could walk back to the ferry to get home. Well we did not find him but had a nice little town tour before we went to bed. Since he was not here yet we decided to take a
Just after the rapids
little detour up the Dempster Highway and check back in a couple of days to see if we would find Eric.
From Dawson City, we tracked back about 40 km east via the Klondike Highway to the Dempster Highway Junction. On this highway the next services available would be at km 370 – Eagle Plains Hotel and RV campground. But we did not intend to go as far. We reached Tombstone Territorial the gate to over 2,000 km of sub arctic wilderness. From the Dempster highway you have spectacular views of the tundra environment like nowhere else in Canada.
We stopped at the Tombstone Mountain Campground and Dempster Highway Interpretive Centre where we got a tip how to find a fox den just passed the North Fork Pass summit and Watershed Divide which is the highest point on the Dempster highway at 1300 meters above sea level. All waters along the highway to the north of this location flow into the Beaufort Sea via the Mackenzie River system. Streams to the south are part of the Yukon River watershed that empties in the Bering Sea far to the west.. We drove through this treeless plain, heading north toward the
arctic circle and camped past the watershed divide but could not locate the fox den. In the morning I took the opportunity of shooting some of the magical light at sunrise with the morning fog and we headed back to see if we could find the foxes today. After walking around for a while I noticed some movement and saw a little fox emerging out of a hole. I carefully got my tripod and camera in position and started to shoot. But it was just to far for great shots. Making a big circle I was able to get close enough to watch fife young foxes one after the other emerging out of their den stretching and yawning and playing with each other. They were noticing me but did not feel bothered by it. It was great to watch them and I got some nice shots. On the way back we stopped and went for a little hike where I lost both soles of my hiking shoes. They just fell of. I have had those shoes for a long time but I never wore them so to me they were basically new but the rubbery cushion must have rotted with
age and just crumbled apart. So it was a short hike and we just had a nice little pick nick on a big bolder and enjoyed the sunshine by the creek.
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